More than 750,000 fans tuned in to watch the CFL’s first combine with international players last weekend — and 62 per cent of those views came from outside Canada and the United States.
A total of 18 of the 65 participants were from Europe, the result of CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie securing partnerships with nine separate international organizations. Since November, Ambrosie has garnered agreements with associations in Italy, Mexico, Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland as part of his CFL 2.0 platform to grow football globally.
It marked the first time that players from outside of Canada took part in the combine.
According to the CFL, almost 756,000 fans viewed Facebook livestreams of the two-day combine, up 60 per cent from last year. Sixty-two per cent of those views came from international markets, including Italy (302,000), France (80,693), Germany (73,299), Denmark (8,621) and Finland (5,927).
“The numbers are now in and they are very encouraging, “ Ambrosie said in a statement. “They certainly appear to support the view that there is a strong potential audience for the CFL around the world, especially when you feature players from overseas in addition to the top talent from here in Canada.”
The league also said the number of unique visitors to CFL.ca increased 14 per cent over last year’s combine. It added visitors from outside Canada and the U.S. were virtually non-existent in 2018, but they accounted for nine per cent of this year’s total. The most international views came from Germany (14,000).
Social media impressions were also up by 37 per cent across all platforms. The bench press was the most popular item on Twitter while the 40-yard-dash was tops on YouTube.